Manchester City remain three points from top going into the 22nd match of the season, in a year where no one seemingly wants the title, the Mancunians appear to be asleep at the wheel. There is obviously a talented squad that can turn on the goals when they want, but lapses of concentration often take away from brilliant moments of football. Crystal Palace have also taken advantage of the season's topsy-turviness -- Four points out of a European place, Palace have had gutsy performances coupled with inconsistency, however like all teams in the Premier League, they are not to be underestimated
The last time these two sides faced, Manchester City emerged the victor as young Kelechi Iheanacho scored a late winner to put the Blues on top. The opposing fixture now finds a similar reversal of recent fortune for the Citizens and they're looking to find the back of the net as Crystal Palace come to town.
Having won 9 out of their last 10 matches against the London club, City look to get back on track after drawing at home against Everton on Wednesday. Following an effort that included 17 shots, Manchester City seem have a root placed on them as they cannot convert the numerous chances that they have taken against lesser competition. On the other end of things, Palace haven't scored against league competition since December 18th, and after their loss to Villa, Alan Pardew's men will be looking to at least get a point at the Etihad.
City will be without the services of Fernandinho, Mangala, Kompany and Nasri for the match, while Palace will miss the athleticism and strength of Yannick Bolasie on the wing. Dwight Gayle makes a return back into the squad after missing time, Conor Wickham also makes a return back to the team.
The aforementioned Iheanacho, who Manuel Pellegrini said will be in the squad for the match, looks to get a longer spell as City seek to solidify their already stellar home record. Pellegrini only made one substitution during the week, and although refereeing decisions marred an otherwise freely attacking squad, it would be disappointing if a variation of 4-4-2 isn't present. Iheanacho and Aguero make for a good strike partnership, a partnership that should be taken advantage of.
City have the quality. They've already beaten Palace twice this season, and will have the home crowd to see them through for a third victory. With the defense playing fairly stout and Nicolas Otamendi taking leadership and looking quite comfortable throughout the back, it should be a decisive win for Manchester City.
Manchester City FC vs. Crystal Palace FC
Etihad Stadium, Manchester UK
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Manchester City Form: DWLWD
Palace Form: LWLDD